Cycle touring Tajikistan and especially cycling the Pamir Highway is not for the faint-hearted. The altitude means that there is less oxygen in the air. The sparse population makes that you will have to carry supplies for 3-4 days at times. And it’s really, really steep.
Roads, repair & rental
For an overview of the state of the roads in Tajikistan, check out driving in Tajikistan and the Pamir Highway article. If you manage to find a good bicycle shop in Tajikistan, please let us know. Here is who we know right now.
Bike shops in Dushanbe
Bryan notes: When you are here looking for spare parts, frustrated with the availability of things in the city, take the manager of the Green House Hostel seriously when he says he has a friend who can find what you need in Moscow in 3-4 days. His friend is knowledgeable, and through pictures in text messages, voice messages, we were able to communicate exactly what I needed, quickly find it, and send it with a courier on the daily Moscow-Dushanbe flight. 26 hours.
Nita and Kieran say: A quality mechanic is Bakhrom Shodiev, who works out of his home in the west of the city. He has some spare parts, but as this is not his normal job, this is not a full mechanic shop. He used to work in a bike shop in Ankara, Turkey but is now an English teacher in Dushanbe. His contact details are: [email protected], +992 919163448. Please note: he will charge a fee similar to what you will pay at home, which reflects the quality so don’t expect a cheap fix.
Rachel adds: Rentabike Tajikistan (+992 93 300 77 75. +992 91 720 22 20, Loik Sherali street 3, cnr with Rudaki) would also be helpful for bike repairs, spare parts, bike rental etc, and can provide you with bike boxes for putting your bike on an airplane.
Vitaliy Shuptar from Avalon in Karaganda has this to say: there is a bicycle community in Dushanbe (Tajikistan), organized around Tourism Development Center. The guys also have a page on Facebook, which they usually use to organize cycling trips.
Eric tells us: The Sultoni Kabir bazaar on Karaboev Avenue has a whole section for bikes but they only sell chinese parts. VeloMoto shop on Abdulahab Kakharov street, northeast of the bazaar (if I remember well) is not very far from there. I showed my broken derailer and split sheath cable and the guy was annoyed and looked at my bike for a mere 3 seconds and just said NIET and left. Not very friendly or helpful. Under the counter they had only few original Shimano parts.
Traffic in Tajikistan
Traffic is sparse outside of the cities, and the bad road conditions make that often trucks and cars don’t drive too fast. It does get very dusty at times, and there is always a chance for drunk drivers, which you sadly cannot arm yourself against.
Transporting your bicycle
If you for some reason cannot cycle any further, you will have to negotiate with the owner of a truck or pick-up truck to take you with him. Seeing how little traffic there is sometimes, you might get stuck waiting for a while. Trains are almost non-existent in Tajikistan. Big buses also do not exist, only shared jeeps and taxis and marshrutkas for shorter distances.
The plane between Khorog and Dushanbe will probably take your bicycle.